Police in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday said they had launched legal proceedings against four suspects accused of wrecking police vehicles and other properties during a protest on June 10.
Nguyen Van Tuan, 30, Truong Ngoc Hien, 21, Nguyen Huynh Duc, 18, and Bui Van Tien, 17, were prosecuted for “deliberately causing damage to property”.
Tuan and Hien were put under arrest, while Duc and Tien are barred from leaving their place of residence during the legal process.
According to the police, all four suspects were participants of a protest in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10 to object to a draft law on Vietnam’s new special economic zones.
During the event, Tuan used a metal pipe to smash two police motorbikes and a bus and hurled a rock at an SUV parked on the side of a street, causing substantial damage to the vehicles.
Hien was also accused of hurling hard objects at a bus mobilized by the police to contain the protest, breaking the vehicle’s windows.
At the police station, Hien confessed to having been invited by an acquaintance to join the protest. He also extended the invitation to 70 other friends on Facebook who were told to meet at his place for the event.
Meanwhile, Duc and Tien said they had used rocks given to them by other protesters to throw at police buses, smashing their windows.
They also admitted to having been incited into throwing rocks at police officers.
District 3 Police said a 15-year-old boy was also found throwing rocks at police vehicles during the protest, but he is too young to be criminally prosecuted.
Measures will be enforced by law enforcement in Hoc Mon Distict, where he lives, to prevent him from repeating the violation, police say.
Thousands took to the streets in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10 to protest the country’s draft law on special economic zones they feared would pose a serious threat to national security due to the 99-year land lease period.
Ho Chi Minh City police and lower-level law enforcement units say they have handled a total of 310 people who broke the law while joining the marches, including an American citizen and some with links to terrorist groups based in foreign countries.
Vietnam has plans to establish three new special economic zones where greater incentives and fewer restrictions are offered to lure foreign investment into the areas.
The zones – Phu Quoc, Van Don, and Bac Van Phong – are to be located in Kien Giang, Quang Ninh, and Khanh Hoa Provinces in the southern, northern and south-central parts of Vietnam, respectively.
Under public pressure, the Vietnamese government has pledged to scrap the lease period entirely from an updated version of the bill, which would be submitted to lawmakers for consideration in October.